A wryly funny and surprisingly moving account of an extraordinary life lived almost entirely in the public eye. A teen idol at 15, an international icon and founder of the Brat Pack at 20, and one of Hollywood's top stars to this day, Rob Lowe chronicles his experiences as a painfully misunderstood child actor in Ohio who was uprooted to the wild counterculture of mid-70s Malibu, where he embarked on his unrelenting pursuit of a career in Hollywood. The Outsiders placed Lowe at the birth of the modern youth movement in the entertainment industry. During his time on The West Wing, he witnessed the surreal nexus of show business and politics, both on the set and in the actual White House. And in between are deft and humorous stories of the wild excesses that marked the 80s, leading to his quest for family and sobriety.
Never mean-spirited or salacious, Lowe delivers unexpected glimpses into his successes, disappointments, relationships, and one-of-a-kind encounters with people who shaped our world over the last 25 years. These stories are as entertaining as they are unforgettable.
Prepare to be amazed by the many ways this book and its author are better than you thought they would be. Everybody knows that Rob Lowe is very handsome, and that he spent a long time being a Hollywood wild child. Now in his 40s, Lowe’s reflections on his life thus far demonstrate a remarkably responsible perspective and a refreshingly self-deprecating look at how he ended up in the better state of mind he inhabits today. While the headlines and high notes may come and go, Lowe remains a devoted husband and proud father.
This listen is a small miracle for many reasons. It’s not simply the fact that Lowe reveals himself as capable of compelling writing, which he certainly does. It’s also not merely the path of the narrative that’s intriguing, though that’s definitely the case. Whether he is spending several chapters thoroughly reminiscing about the many lessons he learned during The Outsiders or sharing a quick anecdote about trying to meet Liza Minnelli when he was a little kid, Lowe indeed offers up a terrific set of insights about both life and stardom. He proves himself as a generous spirit, with strong thanks for Martin Sheen and solid praise for Patrick Swayze.
His narration is clearly heartfelt, and never comes across as phony or acted. This listen feels like a casual dinner conversation, minus the slick descent into rumor-mongering that usually rears its ugly head in memoirs of this variety. Lowe manages to steer clear of the blame game when analyzing the simultaneous blessing and curse of the Brat Pack label or his decision to leave The West Wing, and even finds some gracious adjectives for Tom Cruise. Be on the lookout for eerily spot-on impersonations of many stars, including a particularly good Christopher Walken and Matt Dillon.
In the end, it’s hard to put a finger on what makes this book so utterly fascinating. There isn’t anything shocking in the subject matter; there isn’t any mud-flinging in the tone; there is very little that stands out as an exclamation point. Yet the total package undeniably and irresistibly triumphs at being genuinely charming. This is ironic, because the book then actually sort of mirrors Lowe’s career. He’s spent the last two decades trying to upend the idea that he is simply a pretty face. The book succeeds in that endeavor, just as his several iconic film roles have done, and yet the shallow type-casting of Rob Lowe somehow too frequently persists. It’s true that he is a very dreamy guy, but this memoir absolutely proves that he is also intelligent, worldly, witty, and political. It’s an excellent listen that ought to once and for all put an end to the notion the Rob Lowe’s charisma is only skin deep. Megan Volpert
"[Lowe] writes viscerally and insightfully...He looks back at the aberrant highs of his heart-throb days, the changing nature of stardom in Hollywood, the trade-off he has made between high life and home life, and the step-by-step effort behind his show business survival. He looked like the callowest kid in the "Outsiders" crew. Now he looks like the sturdiest of them all" (The New York Times)
"A fresh pop-culture history of Hollywood in the ’70s and ’80s from the point of view of the man who lived it…[Lowe] is as funny as he is thoughtful. This is the best type of celeb memoir, because its author is as interested in the world as the world is interested in him." (People Magazine)
"A lovely autobiography, equal parts dish and pathos.” (Vanity Fair)
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Great Book and Great Story
- Natalie J. Belle MD "Physician and Educator"
A self indulgent mess
Brag, brag and more brag. Terrible, self centered listening torture with clear evidence of limited awareness that a good story is more than name dropping. It must be difficult to view oneself as the center of the world. It certainly was difficult to hear about it. My suggestion is to give this book a pass. Wish I had returned this mega dud.
- Sara "Avid Listener"